Shkodran Mustafi has reflected on his time in the Premier League so far, and believes the English top-flight in the toughest in the world.

After spending three years at Everton, making just one senior appearance, Mustafi has gained a real experience of English football since he joined Arsenal player in the summer of 2016.

He said he’s learned a lot during his time in England, noting that the Premier League’s intensity has been the toughest thing to come to grips with. Mustafi believes the league’s physical nature makes it the toughest in the world to play in.

mustafi spurs
Shkodran Mustafi has impressed at the back for Arsenal this season.
“If I had to describe my first year in the Premier League in three words, they would be: exciting, educational and intense,” Mustafi told Arsenal Player. “The Premier League is the toughest and most intense league in Europe, or in the world.

“I knew that before, but now that I’ve played a lot of games it is just something you can feel, your body feels really tired because you have a lot of games and you’re not used to it, which shows you that the league is really intense.

“I think because we have a lot of big players in the Premier League and because the type of game we play here is very quick, it’s not a defensive game or a tactical game where we just stand there and try and not make a mistake, it’s more of a game where we try and go to score goals.

“That obviously gives you opportunities to score, but as well it gives the opponents opportunities as well because if you are attacking and lose the ball they can counter-attack and then if you win the ball you can go and attack again. It’s up and down, really intense and fast football.”

Mustafi went on to explain that he’s grown as a player thanks to the experience he’s received playing with and against top players.

“I think you grow. When I was younger and started playing in Italy and Spain, you always hear people saying that ‘it comes with experience’, but you think ‘What is that experience? Why is everybody saying it?’,” he said.
“Then when you play in the Premier League and you play alongside players who have won a lot of trophies or played a lot of games in the Premier League, they give you this kind of experience, so you see that you make less mistakes and that you react differently to different situations.”

The German international has had a good start to his Arsenal career, after taking his time to adjust in his debut campaign. The Gunners went unbeaten for 22 games when he was in the team during his first season.

He went on to lift the FA Cup at the end of the campaign, though he ended up being linked with a move away during the summer. This season, however, he’s moved into the middle of the back three and has improved his form.

So far, Mustafi has yet to concede a goal in a game in which he, Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal have started together. The relationship between the three is getting better with every game. Long may it continue throughout the season.